Flight 23

La Romana – Gustavia

Before leaving La Romana airport in the Dominican Republic, I am changing the already badly worn oil filters and hoses. I take off and fly to another of the Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico, which is an unincorporated territory of the United States and the only US territory where exclusively Spanish is spoken. Puerto Ricans have always been viewed as inferior citizens in the US, which is why the authorities in Washington have tried to upgrade the island to the 51st state of the US. But the locals refused because they would have to pay taxes. Puerto Rican citizens are also US citizens. However, because Puerto Rico is not a U.S. state, no U.S. citizen who is a resident of the territory is eligible to vote for either house of the federal parliament or to vote for the President of the United States. In 2012, the island held a non-binding referendum in which Puerto Ricans voted overwhelmingly in favor of full U.S. statehood. Puerto Rico was formerly a Spanish colony. In 1898, the Spanish-American War was fought, which Spain lost, and Puerto Rico became a colony of the USA, along with Cuba, the Philippines and Guam. I fly over the Arecibo Observatory, with its now defunct giant radio telescope, attracting filmmakers who have made several science fiction films there. Flying over the island, I continue on to the British Virgin Islands, an overseas territory of Great Britain, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, another unincorporated territory of the United States and the only U.S. place that drives on the left, with Point Udall, the easternmost point of the United States, on St. Croix. From this point, I head for the island of St. Martin, which is divided into a northern part, under the overseas Commonwealth of France, and a southern part, under the administration of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with the famous Maho Beach, from which one can watch and photograph at close range the planes landing and departing for Princess Juliana International Airport. Although it is an interesting airport, I choose to land at an even more challenging one in the form of one of the most dangerous airports in the world on the island of St. Barthélemy (part of the overseas community of France), which until 2012 was the most remote region of the European Union. My fears are realised and due to the nature of the airport I am forced to slam the plane into the runway so hard that I subsequently have to have the landing gear checked.

  • Distance: 766.7 km
  • Total distance: 16 891.3 km
  • Flight time: 2 hours 42 minutes
  • Total flight time: 59 hours 37 minutes

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